After Jerusalem Attack, U.S. Consulate Issues Security Message to Citizens

Consulate tells citizens that synagogue terror attack may have been coordinated, not random act of violence.

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A bullet hole at the Kehilat Bnei Torah synagogue in Jerusalem.
A bullet hole at the Kehilat Bnei Torah synagogue in Jerusalem.Credit: Olivier Fitoussi

Following the terrorist attack at a Jerusalem synagogue Tuesday, the U.S. Consulate in the city warned citizens that it differed from recent attacks in that it may have been coordinated, and not a random act of violence.

In a security message to U.S. citizens, the consulate advised them to remain vigilant, especially around soft targets – places where people live, congregate, shop or visit.

It suggested citizens make themselves "harder" targets by using unpredictable travel routes and ensuring a colleague, friend or family member is aware of their travel plans.

"Today’s incident differs from recent attacks, potentially demonstrating low-level coordination to attack a pre-identified soft target as opposed to an opportunistic random act of violence," the statement said. "While we cannot predict where and when attacks may take place, we have consistently seen a cycle of violence in East Jerusalem neighborhoods following incidents like the one [Tuesday]."

The consulate also encouraged U.S. citizens traveling to or residing in Jerusalem, the West Bank, and Gaza to enroll in the State Department's Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, which provides security updates and makes it easier for the U.S. embassy to contact citizens in an emergency.

It also reiterated that U.S. government officials are restricted from using the Jerusalem Light Rail north of French Hill through December 23.

The consulate said it had no information that Tuesday's attack, in which three of the victims were American, targeted them because of their citizenship.

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